It’s Elul. Cold and drippy outside my window, cavernous inside my soul as I do my annual dive within to assess the state of my life. Heshbon ha-nefesh it’s called--an accounting of my soul--in preparation to enter a new year.
Along with many Jewish folk, each year I try to take stock of what I have done, not done, and half-done this past year. This morning I made my Elul timeline, as I do each year. I taped together three pieces of white paper, drew a long line across them, wrote Rosh Hashana 5778 at the beginning of the line.
I studied my calendar book to help me recall many of the interactions, projects, events and commitments of my year. I made notes across my timeline. I took out two highlighter pens: pink for the experiences that I feel happy and settled about, green for the ones that left me uncomfortable. And I reflected on this past year of my life.
t’s been a good year for me in so many ways. Most especially I noted walks, cups of coffee, meetings, projects, visits and adventures with so many magnificent people; people I’ve known for decades and people I’m just now getting to know. I am rich with beloved friends and community. My life is full with the kindness and genius and energy of many of you, and many others. I have great neighbors. I know wonderful rabbis. I have a beautiful family. I’ve done things I feel proud of, had experiences I enjoyed. Many pink highlights.
As with every year, there were some green marks on my timeline too, moments in which I didn’t act in the way I wish I would have acted, or when I didn’t follow through as I would like to have done, or people I neglected and things I did poorly. A few I just felt weird and uneasy about, not sure what I should have done, if anything.
This last category I am looking at from a slightly different perspective this year on account of our recent Jewish Women’s Retreat. The theme this year was “Love your Neighbor AS YOURSELF.” We focused on the “as yourself” piece of the equation. And it really is an equation: as we learned in algebra (or maybe it was years earlier), both sides of the equal sign should be of the same value.
I’ve never really understood what it means to love oneself. I’m not against it; I just never thought about it that much. I figured we all have areas of confidence and pride and other areas of self-doubt and self-judgement. That never seemed like such a problem to me; although the self-doubt and self-judgement can be huge problems sometimes, they’re just not that surprising. It seems to be built into the machine. At my best sometimes I try to temper the areas where maybe I’m a little overconfident, and I try to work my way through places where I don’t think well of myself. Occasionally I try to change a habit or understand why something trips me up repeatedly, and approach it differently. Sometimes I just have to face that I’m not so great in that department and work around it as best I can. Or just feel the hurt.
For the retreat I prepared, as I often do, to teach something about which I know little. As I poked around in traditional Jewish sources, I found lots and lots of information about loving other people: beautiful stories, laws and maxims. However, I found virtually nothing about “as yourself.” Maybe it’s assumed that people will always treat themselves well--it’s the love for the other that must be described and legislated. Still, the lacuna was striking.
To try to figure out what it might mean to love oneself, my retreat co-planners and I came up with a process of “inversions” of texts about loving others. We would look at texts about loving others to see how Jewish tradition understands love, and then we could direct that understanding back to ourselves and see what we could learn. For example, at Rosh Hashana we will read the story of Hannah and her grief at being unable to conceive a child, especially while her co-wife, Peninah, mocked her (I Samuel 1:2). In response, their husband, Elkanah, gave Hannah a double portion in front of Peninah. He confronted Peninah. He also recognized that the trip to Shiloh was especially difficult for Hannah and gave her extra reassurance before that annual pilgrimage. He continued this loving gesture every year.
Offering consolation. Standing up to one who insults or attacks. Understanding the hard places, even if they’re idiosyncratic. Reassurance. Steadfastness. What might it be like to treat ourselves this way? Would it be self-centered? Would it take away from our ability to love and serve others? To love and serve God?
I came away from the retreat with an equation that was simple but revelatory to me: I deserve to be treated as kindly, as fairly, as justly, as respectfully as anyone else. Not more, but not less either. Right now I’m just trying it on for size. But something feels very right in this. I’ve long felt that you can’t do other people’s teshuvah (repentance, turning) for them. If someone hurts me, it’s on their soul to try to repair it, or not to, as they choose. I don’t need to go tell people that they owe me an apology.
However, when I look at some of the green marks on my timeline of this past year, I realize that I feel uncomfortable, not because I did something for which I should apologize, but because someone did something to me. I can say to myself, “I didn’t deserve to be treated that way.” That simple, silent acknowledgement feels helpful to me as I reckon with my own failings. Everyone fails sometimes, and sometimes people fail me, just as I sometimes fail others. It’s wonderful and beautiful when this is acknowledged, when someone asks my forgiveness and tries to set things right. But if they don’t, I can say, “Well, that person let me down. I deserved better.” I can console and reassure myself, even if that other person did just the opposite.
I learn so much in life with all of you, at the retreat and everywhere else, and I am eager and excited for another year of life together. I hope that 5779 is the best year ever--for you and your beloveds, for our community and our world. L’shana Tovah!
HIGH HOLY DAYS 5779
The MCJC Board wishes you and yours a happy and healthy new year. We hope you will join us for the High Holy Days.
Saturday, September 1st, 8:00 PM. A short, candle-lit evening service of preparation for the Holy Days, with chanting and time for looking within.
Sunday, September 2nd, 7:00 PM. Explore the meaning of the shofar and practice the sounds. All who plan to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashana are encouraged to attend.
The mikveh, a prayerful ritual immersion in "living water," is a beautiful traditional way to enter the Holy Days. All women are invited to attend. The mikveh will be held on Sunday, September 9th. We will meet at 10:00 AM at the Albion Grocery and carpool together to the Middle Ridge Pond. If you do not want to meet at the store, please park at Harriet Bye's house (31131 Middle Ridge) and walk to the pond. Please do not park your car anywhere along Middle Ridge Road.
Evening service--Sunday, September 9th, 7:30-9:30 PM.
Morning service—Monday, September 10th, 10:30 AM-2:00 PM
(community luncheon following morning service)*
Rosh Hashana teachings and Sin Buffet—3:30 PM
Tashlich at Caspar Beach—approximately 4:30 PM
Kol Nidre—Tuesday, September 18th, 7:30-9:30 PM.
Morning service—Wednesday, September 19th, 10:30 AM-2:30 PM
Yizkor (memorial service)--4:30-5:30 PM
Mincha and Ne'ila--5:30 PM to sundown.
(potluck breaking-the-fast meals at community members’ homes)**
The yizkor list is a perpetual list of family members and others close to members of our community who have died. Names read last year will be read again. If you have a name that has not already been added to the permanent list, please email Donna at email@example.com or call 877-3243, well in advance of the service. There will be time after the reading of the list to say the names of additional people you want to remember.
This year we will not provide childcare. Children are welcome at services, and there are some parts that children may enjoy most, even if they do not stay for the rest of the service. On Rosh Hashana that includes the shofar service and the Sin Buffet at the end of the afternoon teachings; on Yom Kippur, the first singing of Kol Nidre. Also consider the closing havdalah and shofar blowing “in the dark” to end the holidays.
We anticipate that the shul will be crowded. We encourage you to come early. If you are an elder or are disabled and require assistance or transportation, or if you can provide this assistance during the holidays, please call Mina at 937-1319 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 5th.
We are suggesting a contribution of $150.00 for each adult who is not a contributing member of MCJC. This contribution will help cover costs of providing High Holy Day services. We request that this be paid in advance and sent to P.O. Box 291, Little River, CA, 95456. Alternately, you can mail your contribution later to the above address. It is traditional not to handle or discuss money on the holidays themselves. As always, no one will be turned away for lack of funds, so please contribute what you can. If you have any financial questions, please contact Donna Montag, our treasurer, at email@example.com.
* Rosh Hashana Lunch:
Following Rosh Hashana morning services, many people choose to remain at the shul to rest and eat lunch together. If you plan to have lunch at the shul, please bring a vegetarian cold dish that can serve 8-10 people. Everything else will be provided.
** Breaking the Fast:
It is customary to break the Yom Kippur fast with a festive meal. We encourage you to invite friends and family to break the fast with you. If you would be willing to have additional guests, please contact Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org. We particularly need a host whose home is wheelchair accessible. Locations of break fasts will be announced at Yom Kippur services. Everyone is welcome; please bring a veggie dish to share.
Make Tzedakah A Priority
As we reflect on the past year and look forward to a year of health and happiness, consider making a tzedakah contribution to the Adele Saxe Tzedakah Fund and the Ella Russell Bikkur Cholim Fund, both of which are very low on funds at this time of the year. The funds are available to members of the community to help them work through short-term emergencies. Funds are made available on a confidential basis at the Rabbi's discretion.
We will celebrate Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah on Monday, October 1st, 5:30-8:30 PM at the shul. The Klezmishpoche band is already practicing Jewish and international dance tunes for our Torah-dancing joy. As we’ve done for many years, we’ll eat / beat / rock / roll on the following schedule (all times estimates except for 5:30):
5:30 -- eat a simple dinner (you don’t need to bring anything);
6:00 -- beat the willows and pray for rain!
6:30 -- rock out with our Torah scrolls to the sounds of our beloved band;
7:30 -- read the end of the Torah, roll back to the beginning, and start over
with the creation of the world!
This is the joyful finale to the whole High Holy Day season. We begin in introspection and end in frolic and festivity. This final festival is a great one for people of all ages. Bring the little ones! And the big ones!
Sukkot, the “season of our joy,” starts Sunday night, September 23nd, and ends at sundown on Sunday, September 30th. Right now we have two invitations to enjoy hospitality in each other’s sukkahs. Ellen Saxe and Ronnie Karish invite people to come by and dwell in their sukkah on Greenwood Ridge, east of Elk, anytime during Sukkot. Please call 877-3475 to make sure they’re home. Mickey and Margaret invite the whole community to welcome Shabbat in their sukkah in Albion on Friday night, September 28th at 6:00 PM.
If others would like to have guests in their sukkah (which, remember, can be as simple as a circle of rope on the ground [not quite kosher but right-on in spirit]), please let Margaret know at email@example.com or 937-5673. If you’d like Margaret and Mickey’s super-simple, cheap AND kosher-ish bamboo sukkah-building instructions, just say the word.
Shabbat Morning Services With Torah Teachings
Shabbat morning services are held every Saturday morning of the year at 10:30 AM, lasting until about 12:30. People are most welcome to come for any part of the service. Lately, we’ve been gifted by members of the community often giving the Dvar Torah (literally “word of Torah”), a reflection on the weekly Torah portion. The services are led each week by Rabbi Margaret, except when she is out of town. Below is the Drash schedule for September.
09/01/18 - Ki Tavo - Rabbi Margaret Holub
09/08/18 - Nitzavim - Rabbi Margaret Holub
09/15/18 - Vayeilech - Raven Deerwater
09/22/18 - Ha'Azinu - Bob Evans
09/29/18 - Sukkot - Rabbi Margaret Holub
We will celebrate in the sukkah of Margaret and Mickey on Friday, September 28th in Albion. Please call 937-5673 to RSVP and get directions.
In October, our hosts will be Marnie and Ron Press in Mendocino. If you would like to host a gathering in 2019, the calendar is wide open. Please contact Mina at 937-1319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All gatherings begin at 6:00 PM on the fourth Friday of the month, and include a short service with a vegetarian potluck following.
The Elders meet every second and fourth Tuesday, 3:00-5:00 PM at the shul. We will meet on September 11th and 25th. Topics to be announced. People of all ages are most welcome.
MCJC Justice Group
The MCJC Justice Group meets on the second Thursday of every month. Our September meeting will be on September 13th, 5:30-7:30 PM at the shul. This meeting will be during the Ten Days of Turning between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur; may the spirit of turning towards good infuse all we do and give us patience and perseverance.
The group originally supported the California Money Bail Reform Act (SB 10), which was intended to reduce the number of people held in jail without bail before trial and to see to it that no one is incarcerated solely on the inability to pay. SB 10 was revised in committee on August 16th, re-referred to the Committee on Appropriations, and approved in an Assembly vote on August 20th. The last-minute changes make the bill very regressive and the ACLU has withdrawn its support because the revisions give too much discretion to judges, could thwart due process, and may promote racial bias.
What with the High Holy Days and Sukkot, the book group will not meet this month. Generally, it meets at 2:00 PM on the third Monday of the month, and will do so again in October. Please call Fran Schwartz at 937-1352 for information.
Expose Yourself To Art
Karen Bowers will be the Featured Artist in September at the Artists’ Cooperative of Mendocino (ACM). “Blue State Variations: Painting and Politics” features works on paper and canvas that trade on several features of our politically named and cool-cultured blue state. There will be a reception on Saturday, September 8th, from 5:00-8:00 PM at the ACM Gallery, 10400 Kasten Street (corner of Kasten and Albion). The gallery is open daily from 10:30 AM-5:00 PM. Please stop by.
MCJC Board Meetings
The MCJC board meets monthly at 5:30 PM at the shul. The September meeting will be on scheduled soon.
If you would like to attend, please leave a message on the phone at the shul, 964-6146.
Thanks For Mailing The Newsletter
We are grateful to Mark Zarlin for preparing the July-August newsletter for mailing and to Deena Zarlin for taking it to the post office. Double domestic mitzvah! If you volunteer for a future folding, stamping, and mailing project, you can do it at home, or another spot of your choosing, in about two hours. Please contact Sarah at 962-0565 or email@example.com.
New Online Megillah
The MCJC Megillah is now available in a new format suitable for online viewing. The new format will adapt itself to any screen size, including smartphones. It is posted on the MCJC website on the newsletter page https://www.mcjc.org/newsletter.
The Mendocino Megillah is published in three formats: hardcopy, emailed PDF, and online web page. You can subscribe to the hardcopy version and have it mailed to you, you can subscribe to the email PDF/ online version, or you can receive both. The Megillah is posted on the MCJC website www.mcjc.org/newsletter.
Any information on changes in mailing address, changes in email address, and changes in email notifications should be sent to Sarah Nathe at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you choose not to be a contributing member of MCJC, we request a $25 annual fee for the Megillah hardcopy or email.
Great Thanks To The Following Donors
Rosalie & Art Holub; Marty Freedman & Joy Lancaster; Lillian Cartwright; Frieda Feen; Dawn Hofberg & Bob Schlosser; Mark & Deena Zarlin; Susan Hofberg; Jane Corey; Henrietta Steiniger; Fanshen Faber; Rebecca Yaffe; Jay Millen & Stacy Pollina Millen; Nancy & Rick Banker; Dr Jeff Berenson & Mina Cohen; Merry & Teddy Winslow; Dennak Murphy & Laura Goldman; Cecile Cutler; Liz Helenchild; Leslie & Dan Gates; Rachel Lahn; Jonathan & Annette Lehan; Dr Benjamin & Pamela Graham;
Sasha Graham; Marinela Miclea; Roberta & David Belson; Irv & Rosalie Winesuff; Bob Evans; Linda Jupiter; Sydelle Lapidus; Harvey Hoechsetter & Lari Shea; Margaret Fox Kump; Susan Tubbesing & Sarah Nathe; Adrienne Ross; Adina Merenlender & Kerry Heise; Ruth Rosenblum & SA Ephraim; Suzanne Lampert; Robin Epstein; Joan & Paul Katzeff; John Allison & Rebecca Picard; Eric Labowitz & Kathy Bailey; Nancy Harris; Irene Malone.
Sandy Glickfeld in memory of Julie Jaulus; Fran Danoff in memory of Jane Marcus; Arleen Weisman in honor of her daughter, Karen Bowers; Danny Mandelbaum & Benna Kolinsky in honor of Michael Shapiro.
Capital Campaign For The Building
Contributions have been received from the following: Dan & Rachel Plotinsky; Wendy Verba; Nancy Harris; Elias Steinbuck; Sasha Graham; Frances Novak; Jay Millen & Stacy Pollina Millen; Sydelle Lapidus;
Dennak Murphy & Laura Goldman; Merry & Teddy Winslow; Dr Benjamin & Pamela Graham;
Eric Labowitz & Kathy Bailey (in memory of Michael Shapiro); Pamela & Dave Duncan; Rosalie & Art Holub; Suzanne Lampert; Mina Cohen & Dr Jeff Berenson (in honor of Benna & Danny’s 50th wedding anniversary); Rosalie & Art Holub; Ruth Rosenblum & SA Ephraim; Linda & Windflower Shear Townley;
Karen Rakofsky (in memory of Sam Rakofsky).
We have secured $76,229, a bit above our goal! We are so grateful to all who have given generously and made this a successful campaign. You enabled us to surpass our goal in less than a year. We look forward to celebrating the new year in our beautifully painted and reroofed shul.
Contributing Membership In MCJC
Everyone who lives on the Mendocino Coast, and desires to be a member of MCJC, is one. The MCJC Board has set a goal of having every household become CONTRIBUTING members in 2018. We have memberships at Regular, Limited Income, and Family levels, as well as any level possible for you. Please mail your donations to MCJC, Box 291, Little River, CA 95456, or use PayPal on the MCJC website.
When you contribute in memory or honor of someone, an acknowledgment card will be sent to the individual or family. Please include their name and mailing address. Contact Donna Montag at email@example.com
The Mendocino Megillah is published monthly. The deadline for article submission is the 15th of the month before publication. The editor will include all appropriate material, space permitting, with the exception of copyrighted material lacking the permission of the author. Divergent opinions are welcome. Material printed in the Megillah does not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the MCJC Board of Directors.
Please Support the Underwriters Below
Albion Doors and Windows: 1000s of recycled windows, French doors, thermal windows, entry doors, new & used. Leaded glass, arches & unique styles. Liquidation prices at 937-0078 in Albion. www.knobsession.com
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 707 937-3163.
College-Bound Advising: College search, coaching, and application assistance. Mina Cohen, certified college counselor. Individual consultation and group workshops. Tel: 937-1319.
Frankie's Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor: Homemade pizzas, Cowlick's ice cream, and other yummy things to nosh on. Beer and wine available. Live music weekly; all ages welcome. Open daily from 11:00 am - 9:00 pm at 44951 Ukiah Street, Mendocino, 937-2436. www.frankiesmendocino.com
Phoebe Graubard: Attorney at Law. Wills, trusts, probate, conservatorships. 594 S. Franklin, Fort Bragg, 95437. 964-3525. www.phoebelaw.com Member National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Wheelchair accessible.
Rainsong & Rainsong Shoes: From head to toe in Mendocino! Contemporary clothing. Shoes & accessories for men & women. Two locations: Mendocino and Healdsburg. 937-4165 (clothing), 937-1710 (shoes), 433-8058 (Healdsburg). www.rainsongshoes.com/
Raven Deerwater, EA, PhD: Tax practitioner. Specializing in families, home-based & small businesses, & non-profit organizations. 45121 Ukiah Street, Box 1786, Mendocino. Tel: 937-1099. Email: email@example.com Website: www.taxpractitioner.com
Rhoda Teplow Designs: Original jewelry created with beads from around the world, specializing in brass from Ghana, silver from Israel, and lapis, turquoise and coral from Tibet/Nepal. POB 453, Mendocino CA 95460. Tel: 964-2787.
Sea Shore Sells: New-to-you clothing for everyone, collected and curated by Mirisa Livingstar. She sells clothes...by the seashore! $5 off your first purchase when you sign up at www.poshmark.com/closet/seashoresells and use code
Silver & Stone: 45050 Main Street, Mendocino. Contemporary sterling silver & gemstone jewelry for women & men. Affordable to indulgent. 11:00-6:00 pm daily. 937-0257. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanksgiving Coffee Co: Local roasters on the Mendocino Coast for over three decades. Certified organic, shade grown coffee & Fair Trade Coffees. Box 1918, Fort Bragg, 95437. (800) 462-1999. www.thanksgivingcoffee.com
Tonk's Tree Service: Hazardous removals, spurless pruning, arborist reports, stump grinding, 60' aerial lift, view and sun improvement. Owner-operated, licensed & insured. Tatanka Russell, certified arborist WE-9236A, lic. no. 798911. 964-6209, Email: email@example.com
MCJC Board and Contacts
(* identifies the MCJC Board members. All phone numbers are in the 707 Area Code)